BBB advises consumers to be very cautious when receiving collection calls
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — May 1, 2013 —
CPSI Loss Prevention/Security is in business to collect debts, but the Corpus-Christi-based company has also collected numerous consumer complaints alleging threatening, harassing behavior.
Better Business Bureau has received close to 60 complaints against the collection company over the last 36 months. Consumers report the company threatened to have them sent to jail, threatened lawsuits and were rude and uncooperative when asked for documentation of their debt.
While the company has resolved many complaints, BBB has not received a response from CPSI regarding more than a dozen of those complaints.
Tammy Fairchild of Florida said the company drafted money from her account without permission, yelled at her over the phone when she called about the payment. She claimed the company threatened to have her thrown in jail.
Fairchild said the company contacted her in the fall of 2012 over a bad check. She said she agreed to pay a one-time payment of $100 toward the amount she owed. Fairchild said CPSI took another $100 from her account in December without asking and when she called about it, a company representative yelled at her.
“I kept calling back,” Fairchild said. “They said to stop harassing them and said, ‘we will put you in jail.’ I went to my bank and filed it as a fraud report and the bank returned the $100. The company keeps calling.”
Sandy Mahoney of Indiana filed a BBB complaint against the company in Aug. 2012. She said the company called her late at night and left a threatening message. She said she called back and left a message, but CPSI did not return her call to resolve the matter.
“They called late, like 9 o’clock at night,” Mahoney said. “They said to call them back in 24 hours or they would file charges against me and take me to court.”
The company goes by many other names, including: Certi-Med, Check Plus, Check Plus Revenue Collection Service, Check Plus Systems National Notification Section, Check Plus Systems, Inc., Check Plus, Inc., CPS -Security Division, CPS Security and Medical Credit Collection Department.
While it does not eliminate legitimate debts, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) requires debt collectors to treat you fairly and prohibits certain methods of debt collection. Personal, family and household debts are covered under the Act.
Under FDCPA, debt collectors:
- may not contact you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m. unless you agree (Section 805 (a)(1))
- must not contact you if you write a letter to the collector telling the company to stop.(Section 805(c))
- must send you a written notice telling you the amount of money you owe, the name of the creditor to whom you owe the money and what action to take if you believe you do not owe the money, within five days of initial contact. (Section 809(a))
- may not contact you if you send the collection agency a letter stating you do not owe the money within 30 days after you receive the written notice. (Section 809(b))
Additionally, if you receive a call from a debt collector, BBB advises you to follow these steps:
- Research the collector and/or agency. Get the debt collector's name and contact information and verify that the representative who called is affiliated with the agency. Check the company’s BBB Business Review at bbb.org to see the history of complaints and details about the company.
- Don’t ignore errors. If you have no outstanding debts in your name, contact any involved parties to clear up inaccuracies on your credit report. Write a detailed letter and include supporting documents to prove your case.
- Check for identity theft. If contacted by a collection agency regarding erroneous bills or debts, it could be an indication of identity theft. You can review your credit report for free once a year at annualcreditreport.com.
- Know where to turn. Report any problems with debt collectors to your Better Business Bureau, your state’s Attorney General’s office or the Federal Trade Commission.